Consumers are becoming more health conscious by the day. Taxes on tobacco and tobacco-based products are increasing with every subsequent budget. The result? The market of conventional tobacco cigarettes is shrinking,quite fast!
Under such circumstances, most smokers are turning to electronic cigarettes. E-cigarettes, which were considered a market fad only a few years ago, have entered the mainstream market and with a bang!
The e-cigarette market generated a revenue of $20 million through sales of electronic cigarettes in 2008. Currently (as of July 13, 2014) the market has seen $1.7 billion in sale of e-cigs. The vapor industry has lived up to all the growth forecasts and is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.
Market analysts say the golden age of e-cigarettes is fast approaching and if you have a product of your own – congrats! You are in the right place, at the right time. Launch your e-cigarette in the market strategically and make the most of what the fast-exploding billion dollar market has to offer.
E-cigarette sales – key statistics
According to a March 2014 survey by Wells Fargo, the actual size of the e-cigarette market in the US is close to $2 billion. The estimate is inclusive of all electronic cigarette products (like second and third generation smoking devices) and not just cigalikes (e-cigarettes that resemble tobacco-based cigarettes in appearance).
Research by Wells Fargo indicates that convenience stores account for 30 percent of all e-cigarette sales. Retail “vape shops” contribute 17 percent to the total sales and online retailers make 26 percent of the total sales.
If you have a product similar to cigalikes, get it into c-stores as soon as possible. At present, conventional e-cigarettes like cigalike enjoy a 65 percent share in the total market. The remaining 35 percent is under the stronghold of second/third gen smoking devices.
According to Wells Fargo, the consumer trend is likely to shift towards second/third generation products in the coming years. Such products are cheaper (20 percent to 40 percent as cheap as rechargeable and disposable e-cigarettes respectively) and offer personalization options to the consumer.
While researchers haven’t made a forecast on just how long it would take for trends to change, it is safe to assume that e-cigarette product owners must act urgently.
Placing your e-cigarette on retail shelves
There are two ways you can get your e-cigarette “out there” – a) contacting e-cigarette distributors and purchase managers and, b) engaging the services of professional marketers and e-cigarette distributors.
Option a) – Working your way to c-store shelves
The first and foremost thing to do is to make a list of the convenience stores and retailers that you want to target. A convenience store directory will be your saving grace here. We recommend one of America’s largest online directory of convenience stores and C Store Distributors Directory for the purpose.
You will find more than 13,000 contacts of purchasing managers in the directory, covering 1,600 c-stores and 1,700 grocery stores in the US. The directory will save you the trouble of approaching buyers door to door or relying on old, outdated yellow pages and internet results to look up contacts.
Attend industry events like e-cigarette tradeshows and vapor tradeshows to make contacts with key decision makers of the industry. The World Vapor Expo for instance, is easily one of the most popular e-cig tradeshows and is a event of great opportunities. The latest event will be held in the June of 2015 and will have more than 200 vapor product suppliers in attendance.
You’ll find buyers from all sections of the market at such e-cigarette tradeshows including wholesalers, distributors, vape shops as well as retail and convenience stores. Attending vapor tradeshows and other industry events will allow you to make personal connections with buyers and increase your prospects.
Remember to have a solid and engaging pitch ready so that you can woo your prospective buyers as soon as you are able to contact them. Anticipate the questions (features, benefits, cost, capacity and so on), prepare answers and memorize them!
Option b) – Making a professional work for you
The Check Stand Program is the easiest and fastest way to get your e-cigarette placed in numerous convenience stores across the nation. One of America’s preferred product launch specialist, the Check Stand Program (CSP) is a premium convenience store distribution service that can place your product in up to 5,000 c-stores across the nation.
It uses a unique strategy to increase the volume of your products in the market – testing. Your product is placed in several stores at the same time, with the purpose of testing its performance post-launch. Further, once the testing phase is over, your product is pushed through all of CSP’s sales channels including c-store chains, distributors, local retailers, brokers and rack jobbers across the nation.
Main benefits of using the option b) include –
Several clients have successfully worked with CSP in the past and continue to benefit from the extensive network it has built over the course of 15 years. If you think you’ve worked hard enough on the product, want none but the best to be involved in its distribution and don’t mind sparing $10 a store, CSP can be a great option for fast placement.